By Cleo E. Brown:
In the documentary film entitled Thing With No Name producers Sarah Friedland and Esy Casey present a touching portrait of two HIV/AIDS afflicted women as they live out their final months in the province of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. The two women are named Danisile and NTombeleni. Danisile is only thirty-two years old while NTombeleni is only forty years old. Although Danisile is younger, stronger, and has given birth to fewer children than has NTombeleni, she has a lower CD4 Count than does NTombeleni. Despite their weakened immune systems, however, Danisile’s and NTombeleni’s is a valiant struggle to hold onto their lives. With beautiful photography of the Kwazulu Natal region by Esy Casey, and good editing and exceptional direction by Sarah Friedland, the women’s stories are told as they struggle through The Winter Months of 2006.
As Danisile and NTombeleni survive throughout June, July, and August the mental, physical, and the intellectual affects of the disease upon them is contrasted with the health of their children and other family members. Often optimistic, yet f rankly honest, this sensitive glimpse of Danisile and NTombeleni’s lives is intertwined with Traditional South African Customs which the poor people of South Africa depended upon for survival while Apartheid was in place. The South African People have not been able to totally forsake their Traditional Folk Customs. Umemulo (female rights of passage), Ancestor Worship, Traditional Medicinal Practices, and a Traditional African Burial are featured throughout this documentary.
Thing With No Name may be dull and boring for those who are unwilling to read the subtitles for the people in the documentary do not speak English. The English subtitles, however, convey staggering statistics regarding HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa and, specifically, in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa which are astounding enough to compel one to watch the entire film. For instance, did you know that of The World’s 39.5 million HIV/AIDS infected people that 63% live in Sub-Saharan Africa? Also, did you know that in Kwazulu Natal, one in six people is HIV/AIDS infected. Because of this documentary’s ability to educate its viewers about HIV/AIDS, I would recommend this film as a vehicle with which to improve HIV/AIDS awareness amongst children as well as amongst adolescents and adults. On a scale of from one to twelve roses, therefore, I give Thing With No Name eleven roses.